Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chinese Take Out My Way

I was exhausted from the 4 day weekend for some reason. Too much binging most likely. Usually when I come home from work and just want to be one with the sofa. That usually leads to going out for a cheap quick meal or ordering greasy, unhealthy take out. In order to cut back on spending money I decided to cook at least three meals at home for at least a few weeks. After all last week's carb kick and Thanksgiving binge of mainly American fare and yes, more carbs, I was craving some salty, sweet & comforting Chinese food. Instead I decided to make some Chinese "Take Out" dishes at home.

Beef w. Broccoli adapted from this recipe. Complete with Pan-Fried Frozen Dumplings

Chicken w. Ginger & Scallions adapted from this recipe.

Oh let's not forget my pride and joy for Thanksgiving. For my Roast Ham I ended up combining processes from two recipes as I was undecided on how to proceed. The diamond slits were cut on the ham and the dry rub of Emeril Essence & Cayenne pepper was massaged on and cloves added while I was bringing it to room temperature. I coated the ham with a simmered mixture of Coke, Jack Daniels, Thyme, Brown Sugar and Orange Zest. Then added more Jack & Coke to the bottom of the roasting pan. The Ham was basted every 30 min in its drippings until done. For the last 30 minutes the ham was glazed with the remaining coating base boiled down further with orange marmalade.

The result was a crust that was a combination of sticky and crispy and the meat oh so succulent. I managed to keep the ham bone for next day's lunch and turned it into more comfort food. Mmmm.... too bad there were no leftovers past the next day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I opened up my CSA box last week to find this funky looking thing. It reminds of of the creature in Little Shop of Horrors - "Feed me, Seymour!". The Romanesco Broccoli is a variant of cauliflower and can be treated the same way as any broccoli or cauliflower thus is ended up in my mid-week pasta.

Fettuccine w. Prosciutto, Kale and Broccoli

It seems as if this cold weather has gotten me on a carb and comfort food kick again. A fresh bunch of kale ended up on my CSA box along with more potatoes. With frozen Italian sausage in the fridge, it seemed like the perfect time to make one of my favorite soups - Zuppa Tuscana Soup inspired by Olive Garden.

Olive Garden was one of the better options when I schooled in Buffalo. For some reason the suburban OGs tasted so much better than their crappy outlets in NYC. The soup and salad lunch special for $6.95 could not be beat! As salty as it was, this was my favorite soup from OG, that every time I managed to find kale at Wegman's or Tops I'd be inclined to make a pot. Zuppa Tuscana is one of my first dishes I've ever cooked and still make today.

Another mid-week creation. Shrimp w. Linguine and Homemade Parsley Pesto

Malaysian Beef Curry adapted from this Kari Ayam recipe. Instead of chicken I used stewed beef and a Malaysian curry paste instead of powder.

I don't mean to cram my meals into one post, but laziness struck again and I wanted to get some food out of the way before the Holiday feasting begins - that means tons of food to come!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Linguine w. Clams

Calling the BF, 'BF' makes me feel like I'm in 6th grade. From now on he's 'C'. Ok, now that's out of the way, let me introduce you to my signature dish, as C would call it. Linguine w. Clams. However this is Babbo's rendition of it. Having dined at Babbo's twice I've never ordered the dish. I've never been inclined to order this particular dish at any restaurant. Though usually one of the cheaper items on the menus of several Italian restaurants I feel like I can make the equivalent (or better *snort*) at home. Either that or I'm too scared to find a recipe better than mine. Well Mr. Batali might have me there.

The recipe was adapted from here. The
Barton & Guestier Vouvray used is one of my favorite white wines. My wine noob vocab describes this wine as crisp, fruity and slightly sweet though not as syrupy as Rieslings I used to drink. What's even better is that it usually costs about $8-9 at the liquor store. I don't recall which restaurant introduced me to this bottle - perhaps because I drank several. May not have been the best wine to use for the recipe but it was what I had on hand. The dish was delish nonetheless.

Well Mr. Batali, this dish was deliciously superb if it is indeed your own creation. I am now ruined though and can't think that highly about my own rendition ever again - thanks!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Comfort Food

Comfort food for me is salt, butter and carbs. I guess that's kind of my idea of umami. During the car ride home I was daydreaming about opening up a small restaurant - of course everything on the menu would be my kind of comfort food. Then again no one who cares remotely about their cholesterol would be visiting my place on a daily basis! Haha one day..

Vegetables need to make it into every meal to compensate for the load of crap I shove down my mouth daily. Thank goodness for the CSA box!

Dinner the other night - Simple Noodle Soup. One of my favorite dishes to throw all the emergency food into when we're too lazy to get anything fresh - marinated pork belly, two stalks of Chinese broccoli from the CSA, dried fried onions, frozen shrimp, frozen broth & scallion - ok, I cheated the scallions were fresh.

Simple Noodle Soup: Boiled dried noodles separately while warming up your broth (chicken, beef, veggie, etc.). Prepare other ingredients - I pan fried the pork belly and then the shrimp in the rendered fat. The veggies were thrown into the broth at the end to cook for a few minutes before serving. Once noodles are done according to taste, put them in bowls, topped with meat items & scallions. Ladle broth on top and add other toppings. I love my fried onion bits. Drizzle a bit of sesame oil before serving.

Last Weekend's Lunch. Egg Salad in Pita w. Baby Carrots

Egg Salad: Combine chopped hard boiled eggs, bacon bits, dijon mustard, mayo, splash of vinegar, salt & pepper. Chill.

Can't help but love a complete breakfast - it's what I look forward to on weekends!

Mid-Week Dinner. Beef Souvlaki Pita w. Homemade Tzatziki and Chickpea Salad

Beef Souvlaki: Beef cubes marinated in lemon, salt & pepper. They can be skewered and grilled but I seared the cubes on a cast iron skillet.
Tzatziki Recipe adapted from an online recipe I can't find at the moment. Plain yogurt, cut seeded or seedless cucumbers (shredded would be better) lemon, salt & pepper and olive oil. Chill for an hour or so to meld flavors.
Chickpea Salad - Drained and rinsed chickpeas mixed with tomatoes, cucumbers, minced shallots, parsley, juice of 1/2 a lemon

Friday, November 7, 2008

Always a Time for Food

Work has been getting the best of me lately. There are many days I come home with the lack of motivation to pick up a pan let alone pick up the phone for take out. Some days I'll be happy with a bowl of cereal or nuts but after awhile my stomach will crave something a bit more substantial. I'm tired and beat but on to better things! Meals from the past 1-2 weeks.

Cheese Tortellini (courtesy of BJs) w. Pancetta & Kale

My attempt at Caesar Salad with homemade dressing. Used the anchovies and all but am too paranoid to use a raw egg.

Lemon Butter Chicken Breasts with Roasted Garlic Potatoes

Cucumber Salad

Lemongrass Shrimp

Breakfast w. my attempt at Homemade Sausage Patties

Chickpea Salad

Pepper Steak Stir Fry

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crab Congee

The first time I've ever had crab congee was at my BF's parents' place. I sure licked that bowl clean. BF decided to replicate it last night. Me being the sous chef had the glamorous duty of opening and cleaning the raw & and very well alive blue crabs that were squirming for their lives as I ripped their top shells open. Me being an avid crab eater & dare I say expert in eating "cooked" blue crabs, this was supposed to be an easy feat but this job got me squealing and screaming everytime a claw would grasp my hands. Thanks, hun for giving me this opportunity.

Sauteed Veggies w. Garlic as a Side

Salt & Pepper Shrimp as a Side

Other dishes from this past week:
Fried Noodles in Garlic Shrimp adapted from here - added cured pork belly & kale

Korean Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Wraps

Topped with shredded carrot, fried onions & our own version of ssamjang.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Leggo my Ligo

Ligo branded sardines are apparently a Filipino staple in the pantry which is probably the equivalent to say canned beans, vegetables, soups, or tuna found in American pantries. I originally stocked a few cans of these as well as other canned & frozen foods in case one day we can't afford real food or to keep my BF fed when I'm out for the night and unable to make supper. The products of my kindness just sit in the pantry collecting dust as he usually reaches for the instant noodles 100% of the time. Figured it was time to take a taste.

On a lazy Sunday I decided to make something familiar and fairly easy - one that does not require to think or surf the web for recipes. This is my go-to dish when I'm not in the mood for anything complicated and have too much pork in the freezer. The dish has been prepared many times in order to perfect it's taste to my liking. However tonight the proportions of water & soy sauce were incorrect and the Adobo did not come out as I'd like. The sauce was boiled down to nothing but a glaze and everything in the pot was overly salty. I'll post the recipe if I get it right again.

Filipino Pork Adobo w. Potatoes

Sardines in Chili Tomato Sauce w. Onions & Sauteed Bok Choy (again

On another note, $5 off $25 Coupon for Whole Foods.
Expires 10/22

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's in the Fridge?

The Frozen Tomato Sauce BFF and I made a few weeks ago with fresh plum tomatoes. Sauteed some garlic before defrosting, added pasta & shaved parmesian cheese on top. Dinner w. a pot and 15 minutes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

October Weekend Fare

It's been about 3 weeks since my surgery so I've been ready and craving the big stuff. Saturday's dinner - Tortellini w. Brown Butter Sauce, Bacon & Peas. Mmm cheese filled pasta coated in glistening lard and browned bacon bits from the bottom of the pan.

I bought a couple cans of the Cappy's Chowder from Maine so that I could recreate it for Sunday's hearty first course.

Not complete without the dash of paprika. Almost as good as Cappy's.

The cast iron pan I purchased to make frittatas at a bridal shower was finally used to cook what it was meant to. A fatass rib-eye, seared a la Alton Brown. Emeril's Essence was added along with salt & pepper because it's like our crack or MSG - mm that and Old Bay.

For anyone who likes their steak cooked 'well-done', please stop reading (jk). Sorry, I just don't understand wasting $$ on a nice fatty piece of steak when all you're going to do is make it into rubber. Go buy a $2 chuck steak. I notice a lot of women being fussy about seeing red/pink, bloody beef but gentlemen grow some fucking balls and eat that bloody slab!

Red is not really my thing but this bottle has been sitting at home since the dinner I threw for BF's birthday back in May. I know nothing about red wine but this one paired up with the rib eye nicely. Not so much with the clam chowder we had as a first course.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pork Two Ways

Pork is our ultimate survival meat in the household. It's delish and versatile that with various ways to prepare the different cuts of meat, I can cook pork everyday for a month and not tire of it. My freezer holds, frozen pork butt, Italian sausage, Chinese sausage, bacon, ribs, marinated pork loin, marinated pork bellow, ground pork, shrimp/pork frozen dumplings & bacon. Now that I've typed all that I 'm concerned of my cholesterol.

It time to clean out the freezer of some the pig products to make room for meat and seafood broths now that the weather is getting colder.

Pork w. Red Peppers and Bok Choy in Bean Sauce

Hairy Gourd Soup w. Pork Ribs

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Simple Comfort

A big bowl of this for the night. I feel a cold coming.

BF trying to perfect his breakfast skills. I know it' same boring stuff but it's fun to see how the same old evolves.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I've been lazy again.. but for good reason. It's almost been two weeks but I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth taken out. Oh, how brave I thought I was. The surgery was cake, but the aftermath was utter torture. I'm a lot better now than I was last week but still cautious of what & how I eat. I haven't eaten foods like rice or corn, both foods I love, for fear they would get stuck in my holes. Ok, before this post becomes TMI...

BFF and I purchased a 20lb box of tomatoes through our CSA and spent a fun day (the next day after my surgery) making tomato sauce to pack in our freezer for a rainy, lazy day. Disclaimer: I'm not too fond of red sauce pasta as I'm more of a garlic and oil kinda gal. We used this recipe from Chez Pim for one batch and cooked down the second batch longer with some additional herbs.

Breakfast courtesy of hun. He makes better home fries than me and should be cooking more often me thinks.

One of my very good friends got married last weekend. After a week of neglect to my stomach I said F my surgery and ate everything in sight but I tell you my mouth made me pay all night. As with most Chinese Banquets, dinner is about a 7-10 course meal with TONS of leftovers at the end of the night. Figured I would take them home and re purpose the dishes.

What to do with the plain leftover noodles? Refry them with aromatics (garlic & scallions), meat (cured pork belly) & add a veggie (frozen peas then topped with scallions)

Leftover fried whole chicken? Strip the meat and throw it into a pasta. Looks gross but it was one of the best tasting pasta dishes I've made so far and there were enough leftovers for 2 days worth of lunch. Recipe Adapted from here.

Now that I'm healing and not suffering from chewing, the cooking has commenced again - my BF rejoices.

Tonight: Sauteed Baby Bok Choy w. Garlic

Creamy, Garlic Mashed Potatoes w. Chives

Ahh, I miss fish

Simple Grilled Fatty Salmon